This I Believe

Marie - Allendale, Michigan
Entered on February 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, work

Putting down Our Rocks and Picking up Books

When I was little I loved to be outside. My family had a long dirt driveway with lots of puddles and stones to play with. At my young age putting things in my mouth was the way to explore the world. So, as any young child would do I proceeded to place rocks, stones, and pebbles in my mouth. It became such a habit that my mother was afraid I would choke on one and die. One day, she picked out a large rock, washed it, and then gave it to me when I went outside to play. In her mind the rock protected me from the “big, bad world.” I would carry that large rock with me every time I went outside and I would suck on it the whole time. At some point in my life I put down my rock but I do not remember when that was. I believe that experience, learning, and growing are found when people stop sucking on rocks.

I was watching my niece the other day. Have you ever watched a young child try and carry many things all at once? She had her blanket in one hand, a zebra from Noah’s ark in the other, a stuffed brown bear tucked under her right arm, and then she was trying to pick a book up off the floor. I laughed as I watched her struggle to pick it up and then as she got angrier and angrier I finally decided help her hold the book along with everything else. As I picked her up into my arms with all of the “junk” that was so important to her and watched a huge smile grow across her face I realized something: She was truly experiencing ALL the world had to offer because her arms were not full trying to carry a large rock as mine had been.

When I was her age I clung to that “special rock” of mine. It was all I knew. If I could have dropped my rock I would have been able to experience more than just “rock sucking.” Who knows? Maybe I would have picked up the habit of grass eating or puddle drinking. Either way I would have learned a lot more than just rock sucking. Maybe rock sucking would still have been my favorite. I did enjoy it a lot but I will never know because I did not put down my rock to explore anything else.

Now, I am 21 years old and I’m still not sure if I have been able to put down all of the rocks that I carry with me. I think that there are things that I would just rather hold on to instead of letting them go for a little bit while I explore the world. There is so much out there for me to see and do that I will never be able to if I don’t decide to let go of my rocks.

I need to learn how to become more like my two-year old niece. I believe that if I try hard enough to experience it all that I can do it. I may look silly and I will probably become very angry but I will pick up that book or someone who understands me will help me to pick it up. However it occurs, I will experience all this world has to offer and in the end I will learn what is the best between grass eating, puddle drinking and rock sucking.